Essex County comes up on a lot of must-read lists, and it’s touted as the quintessential Canadian comic, so I’ve been meaning to read it since getting back into comics a few years back. I’m a naughty Canadian, though, and I don’t really follow hockey, so I thought a lot of it might be lost on me.
While hockey is a large part of many of the characters’ lives, I wouldn’t say it’s central to enjoying any part of this. This is a collection of three main stories and two shorter stories, and it’s only a large part of one of them and doesn’t really require any knowledge of the history.
It’s hard to put my finger on why I enjoyed this so much. The art is simple yet evocative, and the stories are just beautifully told. Each one celebrates small town Canadian life, hockey, superheroes, and family. I normally get a bit bored with collections like this, but it took no time for me to feel invested in each of these stories.
Jeff Lemire has gone on to write quite a few comics, including Sweet Tooth which I’ve heard good things about, so I look forward to reading more from him.